Solar partnerships – Solar lamps in the Peruvian rainforest

Source: Climate Alliance

Source: Climate Alliance

Source: Climate Alliance

Only around half of households worldwide have access to electricity. In Peru, just 65% of the population has access to the public electricity supply. Particularly rural and indigenous communities dwelling in remote villages such as those in the Amazon region are affected.

Generators are sometimes used in the communities to general electrical power, primarily also for lighting. Petrol lamps are used in the individual homes.

Petroleum is therefore the main source of energy for lighting for the people of the rainforest including the indigenous communities. However, this has a negative impact: the smoke and soot produced when petroleum is burned inside the homes cause various health problems for families, and the relatively poor light damages the eyes. In addition to the adverse impact on health, the burning of petroleum also has a negative effect on the environment and climate due to the CO2 that is released.

Further problems include the procurement and cost of petroleum for the lamps. It must be transported to the communities and, depending on how far the communities are from the nearest town, costs can be extremely high and access not always guaranteed.

One possibility to solve this problem is the introduction and distribution of solar lamps in the form of small decentralised photovoltaic energy-saving lamps. The mobile battery-powered lamps can provide light for between three and six hours. They are combined with small solar modules (3 watts) or with a charging station (40 watts) for ten lamps.

Project concept

A workshop for the assembly of mobile solar lamps and solar modules was set up in Iquitos, a town in the north of Peru’s Amazon region in the federal state of Loreto. The project was realised in cooperation with the programme for the training of indigenous teachers (FORMABIAP) and the national indigenous organisation AIDESEP, who supported the training programme. ORAI were also involved in the project locally as the regional organisation of AIDESEP headquartered in Iquitos.

Project goals:

  • To improve the living conditions in the secluded/indigenous communities
  • To reinforce the environmental awareness of and support for renewable energies
  • To create jobs
  • To reduce CO2 emissions
  • To cooperate with and support relations between municipalities and schools in Europe and Amazonia

Programme for the Training of Bilingual Teachers in the Peruvian Amazon (Programa de Formación de Maestros Bilingües de la Amazonía Peruana, FORMABIAP)

The programme for the training of bilingual teachers in the Peruvian Amazon is a training institution, which specifically aims to address the scholastic needs of the indigenous children in the Amazon region. As the next generation, the children are to be prepared for their collective rights and for protection and sustainable usage of their areas according to the principles of autonomy and self-determination.

The programme is coordinated by a representative from the national indigenous organisation AIDESEP in cooperation with a representative from the Peruvian Ministry of Education.

Within the scope of the project partnership with FORMABIAP, 100 solar lamps could be manufactured in the workshop set up there. In cooperation with the teachers, the communities were introduced to this new technology.

Over the past few years, the solar lamps have been further optimised: the technology and especially the batteries have been improved, and LEDs are meanwhile used instead of energy-saving light bulbs, making the lamps even more efficient than the initial model.

In addition to simple lamps, solar pocket lamps – including adapter sets for charging mobile phones – are also available.

The institution owns a site on the outskirts of Iquitos (approx. 20 ha) featuring accommodation and classrooms, a library, computer rooms and a canteen.

Further information:


The SOLUX e.V. club markets the solar lamps in conjunction with a project to set up a workshop and supports implementation at a local level. They have already gained experience with similar projects all around the world. They assume set-up and equipping of the workshop, in addition to advanced training of the staff locally.

The energy problems in Peru can be solved by the introduction and distribution of portable LED solar lights. The improved efficiency of the electric lights in addition to the environment and health-compatible usage contributes to improving living conditions in the communities.

The LED solar lamps are charged with a solar panel during the day and provide light for six to eight hours. The free energy means high savings for inhabitants. Thus the lamps are at the same time a means of combating poverty.

Solux e.V. in Taufkirchen, Germany has designed portable LED solar lamps for developing countries, which can be assembled locally.

Further information:


Cooperation within the scope of the solar lamp project will last for several years. In the first phase, a workshop for assembly of the lamps was set up and the staff provided with training. The first 100 lamps were assembled there.

This phase was financed by Climate Alliance member municipalities, associate members and donations from institutions and private individuals.

The following supporters have helped finance the project to date:

•    City of Magdeburg (Germany)
•    Town of Kehl (Luxembourg)
•    Canton of Basel-Landschaft (Associated member, Switzerland)
•    Stamm Verlag (Germany)
•    City of Munich (Germany)

On behalf of the indigenous peoples in Peru, we would like to extend a warm thanks to all of the above for their kind support.